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The Fifth Amendment - An Inconvenient Right

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Meg Mott, professor of politics (retired) at Marlboro College, draws on case law and political theory to lay out the principles, practices, hopes, and fears behind the Fifth Amendment. “The framers understood the right to not incriminate oneself as a key component of a free country,” explains Mott. “Forced confessions was something Spanish Inquisitors did; not American judges.” This program focuses on the Constitution’s most inconvenient right. The Fifth Amendment protects all persons from being “compelled to be a witness against themselves.” Prosecutors know that confession is the securest path to conviction. But just because the Fifth Amendment enumerates certain liberties for the accused doesn’t mean that those liberties have always been read in the same way. Over the course of our nation’s history, the right to remain silent has received different interpretations, depending on the circumstances of the time. Filmed on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Dr. Mott asks us to consider whether we are willing to give this inconvenient right our unwavering support.

Production Date: 
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 - 15:45

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